On 11 March, Italian Air Force Eurofighter aircraft arrived at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, to start their four-week deployment to deliver NATO Airborne Surveillance and Intercept Capabilities to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs. This is the fourth time, after 2013, 2017 and 2018, that Italy deploys fighter jets for NATO’s mission in Iceland.
During the deployment the Italian Air Force draws on the experiences gained during previous missions executed in 2013, 2017 and 2018. In the upcoming weeks they will conduct Icelandic Air Surveillance, provide intercept capabilities and participate in training activities to maintain and hone skills, proficiency and interoperability. Cooperating with their colleagues from the Icelandic Coast Guard, the Italian Air Force detachment is comprised of approximately 130 men and women operating and maintaining the aircraft.
The Italian Air Force detachment was certified as fully operationally capable by a team from the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany. The team’s leader, Lieutenant Colonel Willi May, stated that “the members of the Italian detachment were well prepared for the NATO mission here in Iceland.”
NATO has undertaken this peacetime NATO mission in Iceland since 2008. Given its unique geographical location, Allies and the Icelandic authorities agree that maintaining a periodic presence of NATO fighter aircraft at Keflavik Air Base preserves the ability to safeguard Icelandic airspace.
“The peacetime preparedness mission involves a deployment of fighter aircraft from an Allied nation – Italy is the first Ally to execute the mission in 2019,” said Jon B. Gudnason, Keflavik Air Base Commander. “This approach ensures the Alliance can conduct full-scale peacetime Air Policing activities at the shortest possible notice, if required by real world events” he added.
Source: NATO Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office